W. E. B. Du Bois (1868 – 1963) was an American writer, historian, and civil rights activist. Today we are praying his prayer for grace and courage in the face of the work that cries out to be done in our lives and our society.
Give us grace, O God, to dare to do the deed which we well know
cries to be done. Let us not hesitate because of ease, or the
words of men’s mouths, or our own lives. Mighty causes are
calling us—the freeing of women, the training of children, the
putting down of hate and murder and poverty—all these and
more. But they call with voices that mean work and sacrifices
and death. Mercifully grant us, O God, the spirit of Esther, that
we say: I will go unto the King and if I perish, I perish.
This week’s prayer is by Teresa of Avila, (1515-1582) a Spanish nun in the Carmelite order. Teresa was a mystic, a founder and reformer of monasteries, a spiritual director, and a writer. Although her most famous work is The Interior Castle, the prayer below comes from St. Teresa’s Autobiography.
O my Lord, how good You are! Blessed be You forever, O my God! Let all creatures praise You Who have so loved us that we can truly speak of this communication which You have with souls in this our exile! Yes, even if they be good souls, it is on Your part great munificence and kindness. In a word, it is Your loving-kindness, O my Lord.
This week’s prayer comes from St. Francis of Assisi (1181 – 1226). Francis’s Feast Day was on October 4.
All Highest and Glorious God,
cast your light into the darkness of my heart.
Grant me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity,
with wisdom and perception, O Lord,
so that I may always and everywhere
seek to know and do what is truly your holy will,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Welcome to Friday Favorites, our weekly roundup of life-giving posts and podcasts. This week, Prasanta Verma and I bring you links on spiritual practices, Scripture, and being broken and remade by God. These are such good links for a disorienting time. Be blessed!
To Bleed and Break via Sarah Rennicke (we’re able to love others because God first loved us)
What Breaks and Remakes Us via Tasha Jun (through every shock and transition, God is with us)
Prayer Walking a Labyrinth — With a Printable Guide via Tongua Williams (an ancient spiritual practice with a guide to help)
Four Practices For Staying Alive Until November 3 (and long after) via Steve Wiens (in this podcast episode, learn practices for engaging in respectful and peaceful disagreement)
The Best Way to Memorize Scripture Has Little to Do with Learning Words via K. J. Ramsey (how neuroscience can help us to be doers of the Word)
Lauren Winner and Marilyn McEntyre on Words, Empathy & Disorientation via Jen Pollock Michel (listen to two prolific writers discuss the role of words and reading during this time)
Today’s prayer is by Richard Rolle (ca. 1300–1349), an English mystic and writer of spiritual treatises. Rolle, along with Margery Kempe and Walter Hilton, is remembered in the Episcopal Church (USA) today, September 28. The prayer below comes from his best-known treatise, The Fire of Love.
I ask you, Lord Jesus,
to develop in me, your lover,
an immeasurable urge towards you,
an affection that is unbounded,
a longing that is unrestrained,
a fervor that throws discretion to the winds!
The more worthwhile our love for you,
all the more pressing does it become.
Reason cannot hold it in check,
fear does not make it tremble
wise judgment does not temper it.
One of the greatest joys of being a writer and, well, a person, is that of being in community. It’s always a joy to discover the words of fellow writers and then to bring them to you. This week, Prasanta Verma and I are sharing a collection of links that we hope will inspire you. So much beauty! Be encouraged, and be blessed.
Day Begins via Linda Hoye (after dark comes dawn)
My Prayer Mat via Kevin Driedger (channeling Brother Lawrence in the kitchen)
My Cross I’ll Carry via Aarik Danielsen (when you pick up a cross to justify yourself, that cross gives up its meaning)
When You’re Stuck–A Reflection on Exodus 14:19-31 via April Fiet (when we get stuck, we want to turn around and go back–but is “back” where we’re meant to go?)
Days of Awe: A Gentile Discovers Jewish Poetry via Melanie Weldon-Soiset (the poetic history and possibilities of the Days of Awe)
You Do Have Agency: Your Morning Walk with Sophfronia via Sophfronia Scott (as creatives and as people, we can do much more than we think)
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, and mystic. Her Feast Day was on September 17. As she is sometimes called the “singing nun,” today we’ll pray one of her songs of praise.
Doctor of the desperate,
Healer of everyone broken past hope,
Medicine for all wounds,
Fire of love,
Joy of hearts,
in You we contemplate
how God goes looking for those who are lost
and reconciles those who are at odds with Him.
Break our chains!
You bring people together.
You curl clouds, whirl winds,
send rain on rocks, sing in creeks,
and turn the lush earth green.
You teach those who listen,
breathing joy and wisdom into them.
We praise You for these gifts.
Sound of joy,
Wonder of being alive,
Hope of every person,
and our strongest Good.
Welcome back to Friday Favorites! This week, Prasanta Verma and I have a great round-up of links related to prayer, Scripture, remembering, joy, and writing. Enjoy, and be blessed.
A Prayer Amid an Epidemic via Kerry Weber (a prayer for individuals and groups)
Why Do We Cling to Scripture? Our Lives Depend on It via Patricia Raybon (why black Americans dive deep into the Word, and an invitation for everyone to take the dive)
The Spiritual Practice of Remembering via Nicole T. Walters (the importance of remembrance in our lives)
The Verdant Greening of Joy via Erin Jean Warde (in honor of Hildegard of Bingen, whose Feast Day was Sept. 17)
Of Being via Denise Levertov (a poem)
The Necessity of Pruning via Caroline Langston (pruning in the garden, in the spiritual life, and in writing)
Katelyn Beaty and Al Hsu — Publishing in the Time of COVID via Jen Pollock Michel and ERB (a podcast episode about the state of Christian publishing and favorite books)
This week’s prayer is from Evelyn Underhill, a twentieth-century English writer, theologian, and mystic. “Enter and irradiate every situation and every relationship,” she pleads. We pray:
Give me, O Lord, I beseech you, courage to pray
for light and to endure the light here,
where I am on this world of yours,
which should reflect your beauty but which we
have spoiled and exploited.
Cast your radiance on the dark places,
those crimes and stupidities I like to ignore and gloss over.
Show up my pretensions, my poor little claims and
achievements, my childish assumptions of importance,
my mock heroism.
Take me out of the confused half-light in which I live.
Enter and irradiate every situation and every relationship.
Show me my opportunities, the raw material of love,
of sacrifice, or holiness, lying at my feet,
disguised under homely appearance
and only seen as it truly is, in your light.
This week’s prayer is from Saint Gregory the Great, whose feast day was September 3. Saint Gregory was a sixth-century bishop, pope, and church reformer.
O God, the Protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our Ruler and Guide we may so pass through things temporal that we finally lose not the things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake our Lord. Amen.